Ways to make meetings more exciting
I got invited to a meeting at 2:00 yesterday afternoon. As usual, there was no reason for me to be there. I’m not going to linger on that, however. After all, how much can I share about a meeting where I didn’t listen and didn’t participate. The trouble is that every meeting is an exercise of stifling boredom. Here are some ways to make meetings more interesting.
- On general principle, the person that called the meeting should make an entrance like a game show host in the 70s and speak into a skinny microphone like Gene Rayburn used.
- While we’re on the topic of 70s game shows, can we make the format like The Match Game? It gets everyone involved…and it gives us the chance to use off-color humor like Charles Nelson Reilly.
- Let’s do NBA-style introductions for all the meeting participants. Come on! That will spice things up. “He’s a marketing director in his eighth year from the University of Maryland…” Oh, and get those two average-looking chicks to stand by the door and act as cheerleaders.
Meet the new boss
We had a site meeting yesterday in which the new boss introduced himself. The new boss, by the way, is on a two-year contract. With all the downsizing (sorry, right-sizing) the company has done over the last several years, we all know why the new boss man has a two-year contract.
So the guy gets up there and gives his spiel, and then he asks if there are any questions. One person asked a question, then the new boss explained that his American audiences usually have lots of questions while his Asian audiences don’t have any. No one else had any questions and he was shocked by this.
Listen, dude. There’s a reason that nobody had any questions. We know why you’re here. Would you ever see the prisoner who’s been sentenced to death asking all sorts of questions of his executioner?
Think of it this way: The less you get to know about us, the easier it will be to close the doors on our site.
Dale Earnhardt Jr, office drones, and the top of the mountain
I was listening to Mike & Mike on ESPN Radio on the way to the Pit of Despair - errrrrmm, the office - yesterday and I heard them ask Dale Earnhardt Jr. to describe the emotions he felt after winning his second Daytona 500. Junior’s response was that you can’t describe it. He went on to say, “Just imagine in your profession, making it to the top of the mountain.”
So I closed my eyes. And I tried to imagine making it to the top of the mountain in my profession. And you know something? I couldn’t do it. Not because reaching the top of the mountain seems like some unfathomable task. It’s because there is no top of the mountain in my profession. Hell, I could be standing on top of the mountain right now and not even know it. That’s too depressing to consider. However, the truth remains that I wouldn’t even know what the top of the mountain looks like. I have to imagine that it looks a lot like getting off of this mountain and climbing a different mountain entirely.
That being said, allow me to congratulate Dale Earnhardt Jr. for winning his second Daytona 500. Just know this, Mr. Earnhardt: most of us drones are closer to the futility of Al Bundy than to achieving something as noteworthy as a victory in the Daytona 500.
Efficiency? Never heard of it.
I went online at work yesterday to take the ISO quiz required of all employees. Not surprisingly, I didn’t remember my password to log in to the site where I need to take the quiz. I mean, of all the 38,148 passwords in my life (I’m sure George Carlin would have something to say about that), the one for work training is probably the one I’m least likely to remember. I mean, that piece of information is as important as knowing your mother-in-law’s birthday. So I clicked the forgot password link, thinking that I would be redirected to some page where I could reset my password. What I got was an email stating, “Unfortunately passwords can not be reset on this site, please contact the site administrator.”
Let me see if I’ve got this straight. The only reason I went to this training site is that I have to take this ISO quiz that you say is vital for all employees. Only I need the assistance of someone - in Singapore - to reset my password so I can take the quiz (which really measures nothing) that I would like to skip. Ah, there’s nothing like efficiency. And this is nothing like efficiency.
Friday snuck up on you?
I received a message first thing Friday morning from someone detailing everything I needed to to to finish a project by the end of the day. It was no big deal really, but she closed the message with, “Sorry for the late notice. Friday snuck up on me.”
Friday snuck up on you? So Friday is like Cato lying in wait to ambush Inspector Clouseau in the Pink Panther movies?
Look, I don’t know where you come from, but for me Friday has always followed Thursday. That is to say, once Thursday happens - and you’re aware of it - Friday usually follows. How does something that happens as regularly as a day of the week sneak up on you?
And seriously…Friday of all days. It’s the one day of the week that office drones look forward to. That’s why when I see someone on Friday and ask how they’re doing, that person generally responds, “It’s FRIDAY!”
I can accept a lot of things…even the work dropped in my lap on a Friday. But I can’t accept that Friday snuck up on you. Just in case that really is the truth, here’s a photo of a calendar. You’ll notice that Friday always comes after Thursday.
Why is your shirt unbuttoned in the office bathroom?
The other day I walked into the bathroom on the second floor and I saw a guy standing at the sink with the button of his pants open and his shirt completely unbuttoned. Ummmm…dude…what is up with that? Why does a visit to the can require you (at least) to unbutton your shirt completely? Yeah, I know there was a Seinfeld episode in which George revealed that he takes his shirt off when he goes to the can. But there are actual people that do this? Really? Part of me would like to know the psychology behind this phenomenon. The other part of me is far too horrified to ask.
Don’t let this happen to you.
I was told there would be no quizzes
A message went out to our company that for our ISO certification, we will need to take a quiz about ISO policies before 1 March. I wish I could say that is the most ludicrous part of the story, but of course it’s not.
This quiz will be based on a 17-page document of our ISO procedures. Seventeen pages? I had tests in college that were based on less documentation than that. And if you expect that it’s 17 pages of well-written and clear material, you’re obviously not very familiar with corporate America. No, it’s 17 pages of absolutely mind-numbing mumbo-jumbo. Oh, and it was written in word, so every new heading is automatically numbered. Which would be fine…except that some of the subheads go six deep. A sixth-level subhead? Are you kidding me? Seriously, even lawyers don’t want to say “as clearly stated in section 22.214.171.124.2.1…”
I guess there’s nothing I can do about it if I have to take a quiz - at work - for ISO certification. But come on! You wonder why we seemingly never get anything done? Maybe it’s because we have to do crap like wade through 17 pages including sixth-level subheads for a silly quiz whose answers we’ll forget as soon as the quiz is completed.
A 7-day work week? Screw you, Wisconsin!
I don’t normally comment on political things, but this is just too outrageous to leave alone. Also, I would comment on this regardless of which party was proposing it. It just happens to be Republicans proposing that Wisconsin adopt a 7-day work week.
Republicans say that the bill will expand workers’ opportunities to make money by working unconventional hours. They promise that the 7-day work week will increase productivity in the state and stimulate revenue.
Allow me to interject a little Lumbergh into this and say “Ummmmm yeaaaaah.”
Since when are politicians and businessmen concerned about an employee’s opportunity to make money? Most of us are now doing the job of 2 or 3 people whose jobs were sent to a place where labor is cheaper. Are we making more money? Well, someone is, but it’s not the grunts that do all the work.
I have no doubt that this will stimulate revenue…for executives who will basically be given license to exploit their workers more than they already do.
By the way, you dickhead politicians, it’s easy to propose a 7-day work week when you only work about four months out of the year. Most of us don’t have that luxury. I once heard Steve Earle say that wars are started by guys who will never have to fight in them. Along the same lines, a 7-day work week will be proposed by some guys that will never have to work them. For all the people in Wisconsin who are thinking the same thing, Wisconsin Republicans, I have this message for you.
If it ain’t in Outlook, it doesn’t exist?
The other day, my boss sent me an invitation in Outlook to meet with him about my annual merit increase. I had to leave before the time he suggested, so I went to his office to tell him that. He punched at his keyboard and said, “I’ll schedule it for tomorrow.”
Ummmmm…OK. Or you could just give it to me now when I’m standing in your office. Seriously, it takes approximately 30 seconds to get the letter out of your desk and hand it to me with your congratulations. Are you seriously such a slave to Outlook that if you don’t schedule it, it can’t happen? How did we get to this point where we can’t handle spontaneous human interaction if it’s not scheduled on a calendar?
So what happened? Well, he rescheduled the meeting and did the same thing he could have done after I showed up at his office.